Planning Resources

Tips and tools for building your event.

Top 10 Conference Planning Checklist


The conference planning checklist (or event planning checklist, or seminar planning checklist) is an essential tool to any event co-coordinator and the more detailed the check list is, the better - as much can go wrong by simply assuming it will all just work out.

When you invite people to an event, their comfort and enjoyment is of prime importance. Anything that needs booking needs booking months in advance. Timing is essential to get everything right. The greater percentage of frequently asked questions need to be considered and answered before they are asked, because during the hectic day when the event is taking place, people are far too busy with other things to make decisions on the fly.

Conference Planning Checklist — 10 Essentials For Speakers

So here are 10 examples to consider placing on your conference planning checklist when you are engaging speakers for a seminar or conference.

  1. List and make the final confirmation of selected speakers with the committee.
  2. Contact the chosen speakers to request their participation.
  3. Send follow-up letters to confirm the speakers commitment, their program agenda, its title and a description of their session.
  4. Request the speakers biographies or profile and a photograph.
  5. Prepare the descriptions of the speakers profiles for your program and promotional material.
  6. Send a letter to confirm the exact wording that will appear in the program description for each speaker.
  7. Request or prepare photocopies of all handout or promotional materials.
  8. Book the required audio visual equipment, and check the venue room setup.
  9. Plan travel and accommodations for the speakers.
  10. Maintain contact with the resource person just prior to the conference for last-minute arrangements.

Conference Planning Checklist — 5 Important Things to Do on the Evening of the Event

  1. Inspect the room arrangements, the equipment, and the handouts.
  2. Meet with the speakers to introduce fellow committee members or resource people.
  3. Escort the speakers to their rooms and inform them about meals, etc.
  4. Be available to facilitate speakers' requests at all times.
  5. Thank them for their participation before they leave.

The average conference or seminar is generally planned and coordinated by a busy person trying to balance the hosting of the conference or seminar with their regular jobs. That can be a very taxing thing to try to do especially if that person has never done it before. Write up detailed checklists and check everything off and you won't end up with a train wreck. In fact you'll probably get that promotion.

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Tips on Sending Invitations

  • Gather your lists of invitees before you order the invitations.
  • Order at least 25 more invitations and envelopes than you think you will need (to cover mistakes in addressing, re-mailing to a current address, to cover last-minute "must haves"). It's much more expensive to re-order than to order more than you need at the beginning.
  • You'll want to order your wedding address labels at the same time. You may even consider ordering your address labels for your thank you cards too!
  • Type/print the list of names with the appropriate titles: Mr., Mrs., Dr., Ms., Reverend, Captain, Lieutenant, Rabbi, Fr., Messrs., Honorable, etc.
  • If a widow: Mrs. John Smith; If divorced: Mrs. Susan Smith.
  • For children over 18 and living at home, they receive their own invitation or are listed separately on their parent's:
    –Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
    –Ms. Melissa Smith
  • If inviting two people sharing a home or living together, or a married couple with different names, use both full names:
    –Dr. Susan Davis
    –Mr. James Rosser
  • If inviting children under 18, their individual names (or/and Family) are listed below their parents' names on the inside envelope:
    –Mr. and Mrs. Smith
    –Sue, Bret and Mike
  • If you are graciously inviting single people to bring a guest, this appears on the inside envelope: Mr. Jurgen and Guest.
  • When purchasing postage for the outer envelopes, take a fully stuffed envelope (invitation, inner envelope, response card/envelope, reception card, map, etc.) to the post office. Correct postage is determined by weight and size. If sending different enclosures to differing groups of people, take an example of each. Remember, postage to foreign countries is higher. And, if you are sending invitations to other countries, do not pre-stamp the response envelope. U.S. postage can only be used for mail originating in the U.S., territories or through the armed services.
  • If you've ordered "thank you" notes for your wedding gifts with the names of the bride and groom, you can write, seal and stamp the thank you note as the gift is received, but do not send out before the actual marriage ceremony is performed. (Writing the "thank you's" as gifts are received is much easier than doing them all at once. Just mail them after the wedding or on your return from your honeymoon.)
  • Set up a card file, loose-leaf notebook, or computer program with:
    –Response: Shower Gift/Thank You Wedding Gift/Thank You
    –Y/N # (What?) Sent? (What?) Sent?
    –City, State, Zip
  • Lastly, don’t forget to order your reception place cards and wedding place card holders for all of your guests who return the response card.
by Helaine Hamelstein

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